Tuesday, June 05, 2007

You Can Know Your Visitors, But You Can't Block Them

Almost daily recently, we see folks oppressed by obnoxious commenters to their blogs.
I have been receiving malicious comments from some Anonymous commentors over 2yrs now. They have cloned my ID, left abusive comments under my name confusing all my blogger friends, palgiarised my work in another blog, made a blog to ridcule me etc etc. And they are still at it at my expense. I have reported this to Blogger many times but to no avail. I don't know how to block people from commenting either. Is there any way I can track the IPs of commentors and block them from my blog for good?

And the short answer, to the question, regrettably, is "No".

You can install a visitor meter, and track your visitors. Once you know the IP address of a problem reader, you can install a product like IP Address Blocker (free).

Blocking them, though, will never be 100% effective. Even with the ability to block by IP address, you'll be wasting your time. Any anonymising proxy server provides any determined attacker free access to the Internet. Anybody who is so uninformed about how to Google for "free proxy server" will, most likely, use an Internet service with dynamic IP addressing. If you block one IP address, you may get your one problem some of the time, and at other times you'll be blocking someone who doesn't care about your blog. Sometimes, you'll be blocking a potential new reader.

Just as you can't block access by IP address, neither can you block access by Blogger / Google account, or by any other identity. With FaceBook, MySpace, or maybe Orkut, all social networking platforms, participation in the program involves an acquired personality and reputation, and verified relationships. Blogger isn't a social networking platform - and Blogger / Google accounts have no value beyond blog ownership. If you wish to create a second Blogger / Google account, to enable you to harass somebody anonymously, that requires no great effort. Absolutely no verification of any mutual friendship is involved.

And all of this addresses direct access to the blog, through the browser. Besides browser access, anybody can subscribe to your blog feed, and read through a syndication feed reader.

The only effective solution, unfortunately, is for you to moderate all comments. Sorry.

All that said, you're welcome to ask Blogger for Person or IP blocking - or you can install IP Address Blocker.

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8 comments:

Min-Chun Ku said...

Hi,

I have read your post. I have a blog talking about food and traveling. I express both in
English and Chinese. I've been intentionally attacked by a gang of Chinese Americans. A woman whose ID is BG (BadGirll) has crazily put
the links of my posts on her Plurk (www.plurk.com/BadGirll) and invited nasty discussion about me with her friends since last August. They thought people cannot
express in English should not write in English. They criticize everything by terrible words. Although this woman kept her Plurk secret now, they are still doing the same thing. They also applied fake IDs and left very inappropriate comments on my blog. This woman has forced other people to close their blogs. I have temporarily closed my blog, too.

I used Google Analytics. It showed that her friends visited my blog through this woman's links. Most of them are from California. However, Google Analytics doesn't provide visitors' IPs because of the privacy issues. Thus, I don't have their IPs. Do you know if it's possible to contact people from Google Blogger help me solve this problem? I tried to contact Google but failed to find the appropriate contact information. I have also posted my question on the Help Center. I have disturbed by them for a long time and many good readers hope that I can keep writing, so I really want to get rid of this gang. Thank you very much.

Best,
Min-Chun Ku

Chuck said...

Google Analytics won't give you IP addresses. If you want complete IP addresses, you'll need Stat Counter.

If you don't like the comments being posted in your blog, moderate comments.

nina said...

It would seem to me that within Blogger itself it could have the ablity to block individuals profiles. Every place i belong to give you the ability to block obnoxious, hateful users. Blogger has a lot of cool interfaces... perhaps they could spend some effort on a blocking feature.

Chuck said...

Nobody with any determination will be more than slightly inconvenienced by blocking of either an IP address or identity. If you think otherwise, you're badly mislead.

Varietoscope said...

hwo do i view ip addresses of people making comment on my blog?

Chuck said...

V.,

1. Enable comment moderation, to get time stamps of comments being made.
2. Observe the URL of the comments form.
3. Look in your visitor log, for references to the URL from step #2, corresponding to the entries from step #1.
4. Observe the visitor log entries, with the IP address noted.

mittens said...

the problem Im having is not someone using my blog as a platform for anything, but she's a neighbor who likes to snoop on what I do online. When she sees Im posting, she reads, and then emails me with "suggestions' and "queries' about did I really mean that particular word? or isn't that misspelled?

I find this annoying and beyond. I could block her IP but she would just have her husband work on a workaround. Im seriously considering shutting it down.

I love my blog. I dont want to stop using it.

Chuck said...

Sorry, Mittens,

There's no solution here. Ya gotta take the bitter with the better.